Smarter Snacking: Choosing Healthy Protein Bars

When done correctly, protein bars can leave you feeling satisfied but not stuffed, making them a great option for either a meal replacement or just a grab-and-go snack.

But not all protein bars are created equal.

And frankly, some of them shouldn’t have been created at all.

When it comes to protein bars, you can easily do more harm than good if you don’t put in the research. But with so many brands and variations lining the walls of your grocery store, we figured we’d do the investigating for you.

To keep you from eating a protein bar that could basically double as a Snickers bar, we’ve sifted through some of the most popular bars on the market to find the real deal.

Check out our top picks for the best protein bars along with a few helpful tips to keep in mind then next time you’re perusing the shelves of Whole Foods in search of your perfect protein match.

OUR FAVORITES


Health Warrior Dark Chocolate Coconut Sea Salt Protein Bar

This bar is loaded with clean, plant-based ingredients and superfoods like chia seeds, making it a well balanced and nutritious choice (plus the sweet crunchiness totally hits the spot).
Calories: 200; Protein: 10g; Sugar: 11g

Oatmega Chocolate Coconut Crisp

Made with whew protein from grass-fed cows and a little stealthy fish oil (you won’t taste) to add essential fats, we love this tasty non-GMO bar and all it’s nutritional benefits.
Calories: 190; Protein: 14g; Sugar: 5g

VegaSport Chocolate Peanut Butter

Created to “offer power to the vegan athlete,” these non-GMO bars are a little higher in sugar but the amino acids in them are considered performance and endurance-enhancing nutrients that offer benefits o their own.
Calories: 260; Protein: 15g; Sugar: 16g

KIND Plus Peanut Butter Dark Chocolate + Protein Bar

Filled with heart-healthy fats, fiber and the natural energy of nuts and fruits, this cult favorite bar makes a great mid-afternoon snack or fuels your workout without leaving you with the dreaded sugar crash.
Calories: 200; Protein: 7g; Sugar: 9g

Quest Coconut Cashew Bar

One of the few gluten-free bars out there, Quest Bars make great high-protein snacks along with being a great fiber source.
Calories: 170; Protein: 20g; Sugar: 1g

Simply Protein Cinnamon Pecan

This bar not only fills you up but also satisfies your craving for crunch while keeping the sugar content low and the protein high.
Calories: 140; Protein: 15g; Sugar 1g

Greens Plusbar Protein Chocolate

Packed with a green superfood and protein blend of organic peanut butter and whey protein, this energy bar racks up the protein count making it ideal for an on-the-go meal or a post-workout snack.
Calories: 260; Protein: 15g; Sugar: 19g

Fiber One Protein Chewy Bars Coconut Almond

Looking for a protein bar even your kids will love? Try this version—it’s low in calories and tastes delicious, making it a perfect snack to pack along on car rides or in between play dates.
Calories: 140; Protein: 6g; Sugar: 7g

Epic Bison Bacon Cranberry

An unusual choice and much different than your average bar, but this is a great option for Paleo eaters as it has limited ingredients and features organic grass-fed bison meat.
Calories: 200; Protein: 11g; Sugar: 8g

Met RX Bars Protein Plus

This bar more than fulfills your protein needs while keeping the added sugar levels down. It’s great as a meal replacement or to help muscle recovery after a particularly strenuous exercise session.
Calories: 310; Protein: 30g; Sugar: 3g

Health Warrior Chia Bar

Smaller than your average bar, this option makes up for the lower protein count by supplying you with other important elements like fiber, omega-3s, magnesium and calcium. Plus they’re free of gluten, soy, dairy and GMOs.
Calories: 100; Protein: 3g; Sugar: 5g

OR MAKE YOUR OWN!

(Photo: Crispy Kale Bars from “Power Hungry: The Ulimate Energy Bar Cookbook”)

The best way to ensure you’re putting healthy, all-natural ingredients into your body? Make your own protein bars at home with this helpful guide.

Or try THESE gooey peanut butter protein cookies from Laura Lea (via LLBalanced.com).